Never Thirst Again

When I make my way into the kitchen, every morning, to start the day one of the first things I do is to go to the refrigerator. It is there I begin my quest to find the energy to make it through the day by grabbing a nice, cold, refreshing Diet Coke. While some may need the warmth of a cup of coffee to get through the morning, I need the sweet and calorie free taste of a Diet Coke to get things going. It is “Just for the taste of it,” right?”

To be honest, it’s not just in the mornings when I grab a Diet Coke. It seems like I always have a Diet Coke by my side. Come to the office, see me on Sunday mornings before worship, or see me moments before a meeting and chances are I am sipping on a Diet Coke or Diet Dr Pepper. In my mind, I need the caffeine from Diet Coke to get through the day, which ultimately leads me to having more soft drinks than a person should consume in one 24-hour period.

If we were honest with ourselves we all have things that we turn to in order to provide energy or momentum through the day. It could be a morning cup of coffee. It might be a favorite snack in the middle of the day. It might even be a favorite song or album that we listen to through the day. All these things, and many others, we turn to in order to “get us through the day.” Continue reading “Never Thirst Again”

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Living With a Promise

This morning, I must admit something to you all. As I looked back over the themes of the sermons from the last few weeks, I admit that what we have talked about in this series has been very challenging.

I know that it has been challenging for me and I am sure it has also been challenging for each of you. They have been challenging in that each of these sermons have asked us, in a way, to look at where we are, where we are going, and what Christ desires of us today and tomorrow.

Perhaps it is not ideal to preach a series of challenging sermons as the boxes are mounting at the house. It would easy to blame the lectionary for its selection of Easter season passages for this year, but that would not be fair to anyone. To be honest, I’ve never been a fan of fluff. In my journalism days, I cringed at assignments that seemed to be space fillers, such as covering a local fair, before moving on to something else. I believe the Good News of Jesus Christ desires us all to be challenged to grow daily in our faith and what it means to be the church today. Continue reading “Living With a Promise”

Living in Authentic Communities

Read Christian websites, scan the title of books at a bookstore, or hear how leaders in the church talk and you will notice a common theme. That theme is that Christianity in Western civilization, especially in the United States, is facing a crisis. It revolves around a generational gap that challenges the health and vitality of churches across all denominations.

This generational gap can be seen in weekly church attendance, membership rolls, and the influence the church has in the lives of young adults. The church struggles to reach people under the age of 40. These are people who identify themselves as being members of Generation X, like myself, or the Millennial Generation. Our reach among these groups of people is considerably less when compared with other generations.

I’ve often wondered why this is, not just as someone who is a young pastor but as a Christian who is a young adult. Why do we struggle to reach people from my generation and younger? I am not thinking about Christians who simply go to other churches. I am specifically thinking about people who do not have a relationship with Jesus or the church. Why do we struggle to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with young adults? Continue reading “Living in Authentic Communities”

We Are Easter People: Living Holy Lives

One of my favorite Scripture passages can be found in Luke 18:9-14.

There we see the story of  two people who went to the Temple to pray. One of the people praying was a Pharisee while the other was a tax collector. What I like about this passage is that it is one of those stories that reflects on who we often are and who we want to be.

Jesus recounts the Pharisee’s prayer first. He looks around and prays that he is glad he is not like any of the other people who were around. The tax collector then prays. He prays for God to simply forgive him. Jesus doesn’t offer commentary on the two prayers, but allows the contrast to speak for itself.

I mention this story, because I believe it highlights how we often relate to our new life in Christ and the Good News of the resurrection. We know God has given us a new life through faith in Christ, but sometimes we respond to this new life by looking out into the world and being thankful we are not like some of the others. Thankful that we have it all together. Thankful that we aren’t like those who struggle. Much like the Pharisee, it is an attitude where we consider ourselves as “holier” than others because of this new life. An attitude often seen by the people we seek to love as judgmental, condescending, or dismissive. Continue reading “We Are Easter People: Living Holy Lives”